Some Form VI Verbs for “to Compete with One Another”


root: ن-ف-س / verbal noun of form III / plural: مُنافَسات / definition: competition

Form VI verbs typically refer to some sort of exchange, or mutual action. And competition, by nature, involves mutual participation.

So let’s explore some of the form VI verbs that mean “to compete with one another”, and the roots they’re derived from…

تَنافَسَ / يَتَنافَسُ

تنافس is derived from the root ن-ف-س which gives rise to the nouns نَفْس (“self”), نَفَس (“breath”), and مُنافِس (“competitor”), and the adjective نَفيس (“precious”), to name a few.

This form VI verb is followed by the preposition على to give the meaning of “to compete for” or في to mean “to compete in“.

The verbal noun of this verb, تَنافُس, can be translated as “rivalry”.

تَسابَقَ / يَتَسابَقُ

The root of تسابق is س-ب-ق. From the root, we derive words like the form I verb سَبَقَ / يَسبِقُ (“to be/get ahead of”) and its active participle سابق (“previous” or “preceding”). We also get the phrase غير مَسبوق (“unprecedented”) from the form I passive participle.

Under س-ب-ق, we also find the words سِباق (“race”) and the active participle of the form VI verb مُتَسابِق (“competitor”).

تَزاحَمَ / يَتَزاحَمُ

The verb تزاحم comes from the root ز-ح-م which gives us words like the form VIII verbal noun اِزدِحام (“crowdedness” or “traffic”) and the active participle مُزدَحِم (“overcrowded” or “busy”).

(Wondering why the form VIII derivatives ازدحام and مزدحم don’t have the ت that other derivatives of this form do? It’s due to assimilation—and we take a look at another case of form VIII assimilation in this post. Form VII assimilation is cool too, and much less discussed, which is obviously why I have a post all about it.)

تَبارَزَ / يَتَبارَزُ

تبارز is derived from the root ب-ر-ز from which we get the commonly-used adjective (the form I active participle, to be specific) بارِز (“prominent”).

As is the case with all of the other verbs on this list, this form VI verb has a form III version (بارَزَ / يُبارِزُ) meaning “to compete with (someone)” (i.e. the mutual aspect—“each other”—isn’t present). From that form III verb, we get the verbal noun مُبارَزة (“competition”) and the active participle مُبارِز (“competitor”).

تَبارى / يَتَبارى

And the last verb on our list, تبارى, comes from the root ب-ر-ي. There are several interesting derivations from this root, such as:

  • بَرى—“earth, dust”
  • مُباراة—“match” (this is the form III verbal noun)
  • مِبراة—“pencil sharpener” (which follows the “tool/instrument” pattern, مِفعال)
  • مُتَبارٍ—“competitor”
  • and the proverbial phrase أَعطِ القَوسَ باريَها—literally: “give the bow to the one who can shape it”, meaning: “always go to an expert”

So that’s it for this synonyms post!

As always, these lists aren’t exhaustive, there are loads more synonyms lurking in the dictionaries, but trying to include all of them in these lists would mean going down a rabbit hole and having much more screen-time than I already do!

!إلى اللقاء

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